1."Mofradat Raghib" defines the word "ثخن" saying: "ثخن الشیء فهو ثخین" means: that thing became so thick that could not be flowing anymore; it stopped running.
So Prophet's "اثخان" in the verse "ما کان لنبی ان یکون له اسری حتی یثخن فی الارض" means the time when his religion gets strong, powerful and dominant as if it became a thick and almost solid matter which would not subside and disappear.
So the meaning of the verse is: it has been unprecedented among prophets to take captives except when their religion becomes settled and steady in the land.
The verse is saying that before making sure that you've won the war against your enemies do not think of taking captives.
In this verse, the blame lies with those who proceeded to take captives for temporal gain(عرض الدنیا) before the war was over and won by Muslims because according to some traditions some new Muslims intended to take captives as many as possible in the battle of "Badr" in order to demand ransom in return of setting them free. This might've jeopardized the victory of Islam in wars because they could've been so caught up with taking and holding captives that they lost sight of the big picture. Surprisingly, the same thing happened in the battle of "Ohod" where some soldiers were distracted by gathering the spoils of war and then the enemy grasped the opportunity and managed to carry out a viscous attack which resulted in martyrdom of many Muslims.
This point must be mentioned that in this verse, the finger of blame has not been pointed at Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) because the verse is condemning taking captives not anything else like demanding ransom. Furthermore, there is no verse or tradition saying that the Prophet recommended or was agreed in taking captives before waging the war.
Some have said that if the verse is scolding them for taking fidyah
(ransom) or taking ghanimah (spoils of war) before God allowed them to
do so, then the rebuke would cover the Prophet as well, because he
consulted the people about fidyah before God allowed him to do so.
But this interpretation is not correct, because the Muslims took fidyah after these verses were revealed. Also, the prophet’s status is
loftier and higher than to possibly think that God would threaten him
with a great punishment, because on one hand God does not punish
anyone without a sin and on the other, He Himself has granted the
- When explaining the interpretation of the verse 190 of Surah Baqarah, Allamah Mohammad Hussein Tabataba’i states:
Jihad hasn’t become wajib in order to take over others’ property and
households , it has become wajib for the defending of human rights.
Originally, defense has limits, while transgression is
breaking the limits. Because of this, the end of the verse says:
“لا تعتدوا ان الله لا یحب المعتدین"
Do not exceed the limits, for verily Allah does not like the
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